Dan Walz M.C. & Celebrant As some of you know, Gene is not able to be here this morning. He was rushed to hospital with an apparent case of kidney stones. He’s resting comfortably in hospital. When Kathy passed away, Gene asked me to act as a sort of Master of Ceremonies today. I am Dan Walz, Gene’s brother. [ Tells a short story about Gene & Kathy] I’d now like to introduce a close friend to Kathy, Carol Free. [ Dan, Michelle & Leah surprised to see Sandy & Sadie join Carole as they’d decided to read their pieces personally]
Carole Free Friend I first met Kathy at St George School. Our Resource Team was working on a literacy outreach program. We needed toys to match up with the books. Our principal suggested I talk to Kathy. She invited me to yard sale with her the next weekend. We hit over 30 sales (in rural areas 2 or 3 for a weekend was considered very good) and so we embarked on a personal as well as professional friendship. (Our average yard sales a weekend was 50 - 70, our all time high was over 100). The forethought and planning required to do this was characteristic of Kathy. She applied the same approach to planning our RV trips to the southwestern states - maximizing the adventure on each trip. In a short period of time we would visit many remarkable sites. Always living in the present and to the max! There were so many remarkable experiences that choosing a favourite would be difficult - perhaps the balloon ride during the Albuquerque Balloon Festival or a visit to the Wild Horse Sanctuary or national monuments or ??? so many great places!!!
Carole Free Friend Kathy was a committed photographer - as in many other things, I learned from her. Her photos have been chosen by municipalities and companies for marketing brochures and tourism PR. She had so many requests that she eventually started asking a small fee. This money was donated to support various projects. Her generosity included encouragement as well as financial support. She was able to express her faith in others in specific terms that validated that person’s goals/dreams.
Carole Free Friend I trusted her intelligent advice and perspective completely - professionally and personally. We had many interesting discussions as we analyzed the learning and behaviour patterns of our students. Kathy was always looking for strategies to help students and teachers in the classroom. Kathy did not limit herself to contacts within the building or school hours. When we were out and about, I saw parents often speak with her - always with respect and gratitude for her help with their children. She was direct and honest but compassionate as she worked with families and staff. Her suggestions were clear and practical - refreshingly helpful. She truly enjoyed working with the children - her toy stash was legendary - many toys having specific diagnostic or therapeutic purpose and a few just for fun. Kathy had a tremendous capacity to connect with people - children and parents, staff, people she met on trips - I would see this repeatedly.
Carole Free Friend Although she was gracious and dignified, Kathy could be whimsical/humourous - on one trip she purchased a very realistic faux tattoo sleeve - the photo caption was “do you think they’ll like it??” knowing full well her family would be shocked/horrified if they thought it a real tattoo. During census in Nunavut Kathy was bitten by a dog badly enough to require some medical treatment. She took a picture of that dog and took great delight in telling the story and THEN showing us the photo of the dog - it looked like a tiny pomeranian cross - a little piece of fluff! She had inadvertently gotten between the tiny dog and her pups. Kathy was a strong, loving wife and mother/grandmother. In the midst of travel adventure she was in constant communication with them - they were never far from her thoughts. For Kathy, travel was a heart’s desire from the time she was a young girl. She was a traveller in spirit and in fact.
Carole Free Friend For me, travel with Kathy was a welcome bonus. The real bonus though was Kathy herself and being included in her life. Thank you.
Sadie Bury Friend Kathy and I met about 24 years ago when we came back to the Canoe Club to play badminton. We spent many hours there watching our kids practice and play tournaments. Kathy and I were always together on the badminton draw desk running tournaments. We traveled together across Canada to watch Greg, (my son), Michelle and Leah play. It didn’t take long for us to lose our identity. We were no longer Mrs. Bury or Mrs. Walz. We became Greg’s mom, Michelle and Leah’s Mom. When Kathy moved to River Road, we became walking partners, going for our Buddy walks. During those bitter cold mornings we would phone each other and ask “ What do you think” should we go for a walk?’ Of course we always did, bundled up like two Inuit.
Sadie Bury Friend On our Buddy walks, Kathy could not pass by a garage sale without checking it out. She always kept a couple of dollars in her pocket just in case she would find something of interest. She was always trying something different. One year she convinced me to do the Election with her. She was calm, cool and collected taking in the ballots, I was a nervous wreck. She traveled to Nunavut and Iqaluit to do the census as well. She loved a challenge. I am so glad that Kathy and Gene managed to visit with us at our cottage in Temagami this past summer. Kathy was busy taking pictures everywhere and she quickly understood why Phil (my husband) loved Temagami so much. Kathy, we will miss you.
Getting to know Kathy better over the years uncovered a whimsical side of her that I enjoyed:
catching her skipping down the hallway at school
her love of feathers…. (have you seen her Christmas tree?)
the big silver ball in her garden
the Inukshuks built from the snow in her front yard
her love of collecting little things, and, of course,
her school office full of every imaginable thing that would catch the eye of any child ……. and many an adult!
Sandy Gray Friend Kathy’s artistic talent is diverse I believe, but I will always remember the drawing of her dog, Buddy, that hung on my office wall….. it was beautiful. However, the most fascinating artwork took place at our monthly meetings! Her doodles were the smallest, neatest design creations that I have ever seen…. They absolutely fascinated me. (Yes….we were paying attention!) She also had the smallest neatest printing…. it came in really handy for filling out meeting note sheets. Kathy’s artistic eye was great for form and function also. As a result she ended up helping me arrange several offices…… perhaps that talent came more from the fact that CGC clinicians never know where they’re going to be stuck in various buildings and have to become creative with space!
Sandy Gray Friend I particularly admired Kathy’s approach to life. As well as “being there” for others, she looked after herself, and created a life she enjoyed. (How many places did she see in her first year of retirement?.... Germany, African Safari…. this woman knew how to retire!) To close, I’d like to share a few words written by a writer from Oregon whose writings “include a commitment to passionate intentional living, valuing wellness, and embracing the moment”. These simple statements make me think of Kathy. Perhaps they are thoughts she’d like us all to consider. Live with Intention Listen Hard Practice wellness Play with abandon Laugh Choose with no regret Appreciate your friends Do what you love Live as if this is all there is - Maryanne Radmacher.Hershey ‘95
Dan Walz M.C. & Celebrant [Dan: agrees with Carole, Sadie and Sandy’s assessments about always being there and shares a story of Mom & Dad’s wedding at the picnic thereafter].
Michelle Walz Daughter My Memoriam could probably be reduced to just one sentence: I was fortunate enough to call Kathy Walz my Mom.
Michelle Walz Daughter Growing up, I was always Daddy’s Little Girl, tourists often asking Dad if I was Shirley Temple (yes, 50 years late!), but I was also very close to my Mom. My nights were often spent talking to Mom in her bed and then reading a novel by her side, falling asleep with my nose between the pages, Dad then carrying me into my room when he came to bed. Mom was always there, whether that was to chauffeur me to my many sporting events, provide a shoulder to cry on, or just be there to talk or to listen. When I moved abroad over ten years ago, our relationship actually grew stronger. The Internet-age had arrived so emails were regularly exchanged, then instant messages, and most recently Skype calls, Flickr photos and Facebook.
Michelle Walz Daughter Four years ago, our relationship grew even stronger: I was becoming a Mom. So many things Mom had said, done, not said or not done now made sense. Why did the dishes not get done after dinner, but instead she waited until morning? So she could spend quality evening time with us rather than plop us in front of the T.V. She saw me grow as a Mom and I in turn saw her become a Grandma and now knew – as I really always had before – just how lucky I was to call her my Mom. It is very sad for me knowing that my son Torsten will never get to really know his Grandma. “Grandma hurting”, “Doctors kan inte fix Grandma” – ‘Grandma is hurting and doctors cannot fix her’ is what he knows right now. But her toys and photos and memories live on, so she most certainly won’t be forgotten.
Michelle Walz Daughter I’m going to miss our almost daily Skype chats, where I told her about my day (and she hers) and where we talked about how I’m now helping other Expat Moms through my support groups and La Leche League leadership. I’m going to miss her calling me “kiddo” and not minding, even though I’m nearly 35 and a certainly not a kid anymore. I’m going to miss garage saleing for toys and clothes for Torsten, travelling, and simply talking. I am going to miss a lot of things. I’m thankful that our family is fortunate enough that I was able to travel here to Winnipeg from Switzerland to visit Mom; several times since her cancer diagnosis in fact. I am happy that I could have three hours with her the morning she died. That morning I told her that I loved her and that I was going to be okay. She told me to tell everyone that she loved them and thanked the hospital staff for all their help while she was in hospital.
Michelle Walz Daughter I’m also thankful that she was able to see Torsten one last time. Her eyes lit up, only hours before she passed, when Torsten and I entered her room. She also managed to tell Torsten clearly and lovingly that his blue crayon-coloured airplane he did for her was “beautiful, just beautiful”. That’s the kind of woman she was – sitting there on her deathbed still managing to smile and compliment her grandson on his work.
Michelle Walz Daughter Each one of you likely got to know some of the qualities I hope have come through in this story today. Since her passing, many people have told me that they hope to live half the life and half the retirement that Mom did and if they succeed, they’ll be satisfied. I too hope this, but most of all, I will try my best to be even half the Mom, half the Friend, half the Woman that she was. If I manage, I know she will live on in me. Bye Mom. I hope you have a good final trip, where ever death may have taken you. [Dan]: A song starts playing and Dan holds up Torsten’s Blue Airplane. Not a dry eye in the house. I will try my best to be even half the Mom, half the Friend, half the Woman that she was. If I manage, I know she will live on in me.
Musical Interlude Enya - Only Time Click to Watch/Listen on YouTube Who can say where the road goes, Where the day flows, only time? And who can say if your love grows, As your hearth chose, only time? Who can say why your heart sights, As your live flies, only time? And who can say why your heart cries when your love lies, only time? Who can say when the roads meet, That love might be ,in your heart? and who can say when the day sleeps, and the night keeps all your heart? Night keeps all your heart..... Who can say if your love groves, As your heart chose, only time? And who can say where the road goes Where the day flows, only time? Who knows? Only time Who knows? Only time